By Eugene Wang and Dennis Harrsch
On November 21st, members of the Big Data for Reproductive Health (bd4rh) Bass Connections research team visited IntraHealth, a Chapel Hill-based international development nonprofit. While there, they presented to IntraHealth staff about the team’s work, with research lead Amy Finnegan, PhD speaking additionally about the value proposition of data science for the development space.
The bd4rh team is split into two main subteams: the machine learning (ML) team, and the research and policy stakeholder (RAPS) subteam. The ML team has been working on developing machine learning algorithms to accurately predict a woman’s contraceptive use patterns based on demographic survey data. They hope to integrate any promising results into their online tool, currently hosted as a website application that displays contraceptive use data through a easy-to-understand visual interface. The RAPS team has been identifying use cases for such a tool by interviewing stakeholders in order to shape the project’s trajectory and maximize deliverable value.
The bd4rh team is led by Dr. Amy Finnegan, a data scientist at IntraHealth and former research scholar at the Duke Global Health Institute and Dr. Megan Huchko, an OB/GYN at Duke Medicine and the Director of Duke’s Center for Global Reproductive Health. They are joined by graduate team member Kelly Hunter (Public Policy Studies and Political Science, PhD candidate), and undergraduates Dennis Harrsch, Anna Hirsch, Eugene Wang, Zhixue Wang, Qintian Zhang (on the ML team), and Janel Ramkalawan, Saumya Sao, Elizabeth Shulman, Elizabeth Loschavio (on the RAPS team). The cross-collaborative teams meet on a weekly basis during the school year, with work continuing through a Data+ project team over the summer. More information on the team can be found on their Bass Connections profile page at: https://bassconnections.duke.edu/project-teams/big-data-reproductive-health-2019-2020. The bd4rh project’s web application containing the current data visualization tool can be found at https://sites.google.com/view/bd4rh/home.